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September 8th to

September 15th, 2022 + possible Florence extension September 15th to18th


Main program deposit including a 3% processing fee

Main program + Extension deposit including a 3%

processing fee

 Please sign up with your primary email address as that will be how we stay in touch regarding program details. 

Registration is limited up to 20 participants. 


Image by Lewis J Goetz

Telfair Museums presents
Splendors of Northern Italy - Art, Food, Culture and Countryside

In the sweeping Lake District across the undulating plain of the Po River, one of the most fertile in Italy, the Romans founded a number of prosperous towns linked by the Via Emilia, which ran from Milan to the Adriatic coast. In the Middle Ages the region fragmented into a number of independent city states which, whether under a communal or despotic form of government, constructed mighty town halls, vast churches, splendid palaces and caused great works of art to be created.

In Lombardy, the rulers of Milan created around them the most glittering court in the peninsula, the rival of any in Europe. Artists, musicians and men of letters flocked here to participate in the unending spectacle of court life and to compete for the unparalleled opportunity to exercise their genius. With the presence of Leonardo and Bramante, the Duchy was a cradle of the High Renaissance and Lombard builders exported the Italian style all over Europe. 

Starting in Milan, program highlights will include visits to the spectacular marble Gothic cathedral, the Brera Art Gallery, and a special private entrance to behold Leonardo’s Last Supper.  We also will venture out of busy Milan to explore beautiful Lake Como and the medieval Monastery of Pavia. On route to Bologna, stop at noble Parma filled with masterpieces by Renaissance painter, Correggio and Romanesque monuments.
The second part of our program will be based in Bologna (known as “Bologna the fat”), one of Italy’s most engaging cities. The allure of aged red brick, great churches and memorial sculpture, magnificent palaces and civic buildings, first-rate galleries and frescoed halls and miles of arcaded streets are irresistible. As home to Europe’s oldest university, a beacon of good civic governance and with a worldwide reputation for gastronomic excellence, one would think that a visit would be practically mandatory. But still the tourists stay away while we enjoy! 

Join Elaine Ruffolo, Linda McWhorter and world-renowned author, Ross King for a spectacular program exploring the splendors of Northern Italy.

4 nights in Milan at Grand Hotel et de Milano

3 nights in Bologna at Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni

Daily Breakfast, 5 lunches, 4 receptions, 2 tastings and 2 dinners

City transportation by private coach, private boat on Lake Como

Program highlights: 
Private visit to Santa Maria delle Grazie to view the Last Supper

Day on Lake Como with visit to a private island
Visit to a cheese and balsamic vinegar producer
Parma’s Romanesque Baptistery
Food market walk in Bologna
Special entrance to the Carthusian Monastery of Pavia and lunch in the country

Ross King, well known author, scholar and expert lecturer.
Elaine Ruffolo, Renaissance Art Historian and longtime friend and instructor for Telfair travelers.
Telfair Museums Director Ben Stone.

Program fee: 

$5,750 (based on double occupancy)
$7,200 (based on single occupancy)

Includes: transportation in private coach and boat, all entrance fees, group meals, tips, donations, 7 nights in 5 star hotels, instruction, and tour manager. Please note the fee does not include airport transfer upon arrive in from Milan to the city center. The fee does include one group departure from Bologna to Milan airport at the conclusion of the program.

Main program deposit including a 3% processing fee

Main program + Extension deposit including a 3% processing fee



September 9th


Explore Leonardo’s Milan in depth today, beginning with a visit to the Pinacoteca Brera where Director, James Bradburne will warmly welcome our group to his museum. Afterwards we’ll head to our second stop, the gargantuan Castello Sforzesco, where Leonardo spent two decades working for Ludovico il Moro. You’ll marvel at the imposing castle and collection which reflect the dominance of the Visconti and Sforza families as well as behold Michelangelo’s last Pietà, left unfinished in Rome and only purchased for the Milanese civic collections in the twentieth century. 

Gather in the lobby of the hotel for a presentation on Leonardo’s Last Supper followed by an after-hours visit to behold Leonardo’s masterpiece, the Last Supper.

Enjoy a reception “al fresco” followed by dinner in a private Milanese Nobile home.


Image by Aleks Marinkovic


September 11th

Lake Como

 Often called the world's most beautiful lake, Italy's Lake Como has been a popular resort destination for the wealthy and powerful since the days of the Roman Empire, when Roman author and magistrate Pliny the Younger built villas named "Comedy" and "Tragedy" along its shores. Today, the list of luminaries who own homes or villas on Lake Como runs the gamut from Richard Branson to George Clooney to John Kerry. On your visit to Lake Como, you'll explore the lake on a private boat cruise from Bellagio stopping at 18th-century Villa Del Balbianello, built on the site of a Franciscan monastery and renowned for its exquisite terraced gardens ablaze with magnolias, followed by a visit to the Isola Comacina, the lake’s only private island, for a special lunch.




September 13th


 Enjoy a walking tour of the best of Bologna, including the famous food market. Stroll through the maze of streets where shops and stalls display an overwhelming array of fresh pasta, artisanal mortadella,

hams and salamis, cheeses, fresh fruit and vegetables, and an irresistible variety of bread and pastries. Led by a local expert, taste these products in some of the city’s historic food shops. 

Continue to the Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio, the seat of the university until 1803, and visit Piazza Maggiore and the Cathedral of San Petronio. 

Free for lunch on your own.

This afternoon choose to wander through the medieval streets on your own or join Elaine and Linda for a visit to Pinacoteca Nazionale, which houses works by Raphael, the Carracci family and Guido Reni. 

Enjoy a group dinner in a typical Bolognese trattoria.




September 15th


Group departure from hotel

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September 10th

Pavia Certosa

Head to Pavia for a special visit to the Certosa di Pavia, perhaps the most richly endowed monastic foundation in Italy and mausoleum of both the Visconti and the Sforza. Nestled in the heart of rice fields, the Certosa di Pavia is a centuries-old monastery, and may well be one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings in Europe. Explore the monumental complex with one of the Carthusian Fathers as our guide. 

Enjoy a reception “al fresco” and lunch. Free time in Milan in the late afternoon and evening




September 12th

Parma & Bologna

Parma is a beautiful city; the vast Palazzo della Pilotta houses an art gallery (Correggio, Parmigianino) and an important Renaissance theatre (first proscenium arch). Visit the splendid Romanesque cathedral with illusionistic frescoes of a tumultuous heavenly host by Correggio. Also by Correggio is a sophisticated set of allegorical lunettes in grisaille surrounding a celebration of Diana as the goddess of chastity and the hunt in the Camera di S. Paolo. 

Enjoy a group lunch at Parma’s renowned Ristorante Agnolo D’Oro.

Continue to Bologna and check into your hotel.




September 14th


Steeped in history and gastronomy and bordered by the Po River to the north and the Apennine Mountains to the south, Emilia Romagna is home to rarefied car-racing brands including Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini, and the birthplace of such exalted Italian sons as Giuseppe Verdi, Luciano Pavarotti, Federico Fellini, and Giorgio Armani. Even seasoned foodies may be surprised to learn that Emilia Romagna brings more Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) literally “Protected Designation of Origin”—foods to the global table than any other part of Italy. Emilia Romagna’s mouth-watering list includes savory delicacies like prosciutto di Parma, aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena (arguably the most prized balsamic vinegar in the world), and a perennial favorite of cheese-lovers everywhere, parmigiano reggiano.

Visit Hombre Organic Farm in Modena, for a unique taste of the DOP production process and the region itself, the only local producer of entirely organic parmigiano on a closed-cycle farm. Translation: everything that goes into the cheese—from the alfalfa, corn, and barley that feeds the farm’s 500 Italian Friesian cows to every ounce of milk—comes from the 750-acre premises.
Continue on to iconic Acetaia Giuseppe Giusti where you will walk among centuries-old casks of vinegar acetaie, visit the family’s museum and experience the ancient art of vinegar making followed by a light lunch.

This afternoon walk through the center of Modena to visit the famous Medieval Cathedral and stop at the Ferrari museum on the return to Bologna. Upon arrival, enjoy a reception to say farewell to the program.


Main program deposit including a 3% processing fee

Artists and Artisans in the Golden Age of Florence
Florence Extension

You may choose to extend your adventure by continuing on to Florence. Travel by high speed train with Elaine for a three-day extension of the program.  We will stay at luxurious Hotel Brunelleschi, in the heart of medieval Florence.

Program Price:
$1865  (based on double occupancy)
(based on single occupancy)

Price includes:

  • 3 nights at Hotel Brunelleschi

  • Transportation from Bologna to Florence

  • Entrance fees and donations

  • Instructor and tour manager

  • Daily breakfast, 2 receptions, 2 dinners


Main program + Extension deposit including a 3% processing fee



September 15th

Florence: A Walk

through History

Arrival in Florence at 2:00 pm and check into Hotel Brunelleschi.

Join Elaine Ruffolo for a walking tour through the center of Florence following the streets that Leonardo and Michelangelo knew by heart. Learn about the city’s Roman origins and see what the city’s back alleys and smaller squares reveal about Florence’s growth in the Middle Ages.  

Enjoy a welcome reception followed by dinner in the medieval tower of the Hotel Brunelleschi.


Image by Aleks Marinkovic

Saturday, September 17th

Renaissance Sculpture:

Bargello and Museum of the Cathedral 

During the Renaissance the Bargello was used as a prison and the exterior served as a “most-wanted” billboard: effigies of notorious criminals and Medici enemies were painted on its walls. Today it houses the Museo Nazionale, home to what is probably the finest collection of Renaissance sculpture in Italy. Michelangelo, Donatello and Benvenuto Cellini are the preeminent masters here, and the concentration of masterworks is remarkable. For Renaissance art lovers, the Bargello is to sculpture what the Uffizi is to painting.

Continue on to the newly refurbished Museo dell’Opera del Duomo to view the famous Gates of Paradise and the recently restored North and South doors of the Baptistry as well as Michelangelo’s last work and Donatello’s poignant Mary Magdelena.

This afternoon by special appointment visit the Uffizi restoration laboratories at the Fortezza del Basso.  Learn how ravaged Renaissance masterpieces can be brought back to life.

Farewell dinner at Frescobaldi Wine Bar.


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Elaine Ruffolo

Art Historian

Elaine Ruffolo has been teaching art history in Italy since 1989 and is a popular instructor for students and adults alike.  Her special interest is architecture and how it reflects patronage and economy City-States in Renaissance Italy.  Ruffolo firmly supports the idea that the best way to understand a work of art is by exploring the context in which it was made.  What makes art history interesting and relevant today is study of the political situation, economic conditions, patronage, and the artist's personality which is reflected in the work of art. 
Elaine Ruffolo currently lectures for academic programs in Florence.  She is also the Resident Director for the Smithsonian Associate’s Programs in Italy, has developed art history programs for the Clark Museum of Art, Atlanta High Museum, Stanford University Alumni, Yale Alumni, College of William and Mary and the Patrons of the Vatican Museums.  Ruffolo is on the advisory board of the Friends of Florence since 2000 and consults for CEO and YPO programs in Europe including Rome, Florence, Sicily, Naples, Greece, Morocco and Prague.



September 16th

Artisans and Craftsmen of the Oltrarno

This fascinating tour will wind you through the backstreets of the Oltrarno, or other side of the Arno River, traditional home of the many artisans still working in Florence.  While strolling through the most characteristic quarter of the city, you will visit a variety of workshops to view artisans at work (for example marbleized paper, printmaking, wood carving, silver and metal work, jewelry crafting, furniture restoration and so forth). Actual demonstrations will be provided just for you...a peek into the hidden city far from the tourist track.

Enjoy lunch on your own in the heart of the artisan’s quarter at a typical trattoria.
In the late afternoon, enjoy a private visit to the Palazzo Gondi led by the Marchese and Marchessa Gondi through their remarkable 15th century palace.



Sunday, September18th


Group departure from hotel



Dr. Ross King

Art Historian

Dr. Ross King is the best-selling author of books on Italian and French art and history. Among his books are Brunelleschi’s Dome (2000), Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling (2002), and Leonardo and The Last Supper (2012). His study of the origins of French Impressionism, The Judgement of Paris, was published in 2006, and his biography of Claude Monet, Mad Enchantment, in 2016. He has also published a biography of Niccolò Machiavelli and is the co-author with Anja Grebe of Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743 (2015).
Ross serves on the Council of Academic Advisors for Friends of Florence, the fund-raising charity ensuring the survival of Florence’s art and architectural treasures. He has participated in numerous study tours throughout Italy, including in Florence, Rome, Assisi, and Milan. He is a regular participant in the Italian Renaissance seminars at the Aspen Institute and lectured in the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Frick Collection, the National Gallery of Art, and the Telfair Museums. When not traveling for work or pleasure, he lives near Oxford, in England, with his wife Melanie.

Main program + Extension deposit including a
3% processing fee

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